Race Weekend Central

Beyond the Cockpit: Jim Rosenblum & His Big Red Firetruck

The oldest team in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is the No. 28 truck owned by Jim Rosenblum. Since the series’ inception, Rosenblum owned a truck in the first-ever Truck Series race and has fielded a truck for 69 starts. Into his 80s, Rosenblum is still helping the No. 28 truck to get ready to race at Daytona, Talladega and Pocono.

Frontstretch‘s Jared Haas caught up with Rosenblum at Daytona International Speedway.

You can watch or read below the interview.

Jared Haas, Frontstretch: How have you been able to do this for so long?

Jim Rosenblum: Well, it’s been hard. We were the last of the original teams [as we] started out in Phoenix back in ’95 when Craftsman was actually the sponsor, then it became Camping World [and] now Craftsman’s back.

After 9/11, we changed from the No. 51 to No. 28 to honor all the first responders and the 343 firemen that died that day, plus all the ones have died since from unknown cancers, The police department lost people [and] a lot of people died. There were over 1,000 orphans [from the firemen losing their lives] that day. You know they lost their fathers and mothers, whatever, they went to work, the kids, their kids never saw him again.

Haas: What does it mean to you running that No. 28 with the fire department in New York City?

Rosenblum: We helped raise money for the widows and children’s fund for both the fire department and the police department We originally raised a lot of money, but it’s 21 years since then. People forget, unfortunately, but not only do we honor first responders but all the military people. We had a very good friend of ours who was a combat helicopter pilot who was a real hero. He was on the decklid for the last 10 or 12 years and we just funded out of our own pocket.

In 2018, I was gonna say that’s the end of it after Daytona. Bryan Dauzat was driving and wanted to keep driving. He’s got a very successful business, O.B. Builders, there in Charlotte, Colorado, Tampa. We had all the equipment, so let’s go racing. He’s helping out between the trucks and his two ARCA cars. We’re having fun.

Haas: How did you meet Dauzat, because he’s a pretty integral part. He’s been your driver for the last couple of years for you?

Rosenblum: Bryan [Dauzat] actually wanted to build a modified car and he came to the race shop to get help. Then, he was a crewman and he used to work on a car with us, and then he started driving. He’s our driver and we’re all friends. We all have the same goal: to go racing, have fun and help honor first responders, our military, our police and our firemen.

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Haas: I want to take a little history tour. An interesting sponsor that I found all the way back in 1995 at Flemington [is] “Prohibition Does Not Work.” What is the deal and the story behind that sponsor?

Rosenblum: They used to have beer commercials, cigarettes, tobacco. I think it was the federal government [that] decided you can’t advertise [tobacco products on TV]. There went Winston [and then] the Winston Cup [was] no longer. We had SKOAL tobacco on the old bandit car with Harry Gant. There were a lot of tobacco and liquor sponsors. They all went away. Prohibition really doesn’t work because [it] doesn’t stop people from smoking or drinking.

Haas: You’ve had quite a few drivers that drove your truck over [the years] and even the car. What is one driver that stood out to you in your career?

Rosenblum: Well, I guess the most famous one is David Ragan. He won [two] Cup races. He drove for us. All the drivers have been good. We had Ryan Ellis, Bryan Dauzat, Wayne Edwards, Carl Long, Ronnie Hoover. I can’t even remember them all, you know, 83 years is old.

Haas: You’re obviously here at Daytona. Usually, you enter in some restrictor-plate tracks, but your schedule has varied from year to year. What is the plan for this team in 2023?

Rosenblum: Well, we’re going to definitely run Daytona and Talladega. We’ll run Pocono. Maybe CBS will come, give us some money and we’ll run for CBS. We[‘ve] got the equipment, we[‘ve] got the team. It’s only the dollars that count.

About the author

Jared Haas joined the Frontstretch staff in May 2020. A graduate of Cedarville University in December 2019, Jared has been a Nascar fan since 2006. One of Jared's passion is recreating and creating Nascar cars for video games.

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